While news of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's plans to step down as senior working members of Britain's royal family initially left the world in shock, it's become increasingly clear that the couple is determined to escape the prying press. A new report from TMZ claims Meghan Markle and Prince Harry wanted privacy for Archie and were willing to give up their royal titles to get it... and TBH that makes a lot of sense.
With a reoccurring role in the TV show Suits and at least a dozen film roles, Markle wasn't a complete stranger to the public scrutiny and media coverage fame can bring. However, according to TMZ, Markle reportedly underestimated exactly how much and what kind of scrutiny she'd receive after joining the royal family. Since going public with her relationship with Prince Harry, Markle has faced a near constant barrage of criticism from the British press.
She's been blasted for eating avocados, for touching her baby bump, for wanting to sit beside her husband at dinner, for how she holds her son, for where she spent Christmas, and most recently, for smiling while walking in the woods, according to The Blast. The media's scrutiny of Markle feels so excessive that it's exhausting just to read about, let alone live under it.
The birth of baby Archie left both Prince Harry and Markle eager for a different kind of life, according to TMZ, one where their son wouldn't find every detail of his life splashed across the pages of British tabloids. Both the press and some members of the public were upset when the young royal was rarely spotted in public and his christening was kept ultra private.
Unnamed sources told TMZ that Prince Harry and Markle were advised to "be more forthcoming" with Archie, allowing papers to photograph him as Prince William and Kate Middleton have done with their children. Markle was reportedly so "incensed" about how the press covered Archie's christening (a number of articles criticized her for being "too overprotective," reported Inside Edition) that she pushed for her and Prince Harry to step away from their roles as senior members of the royal family, TMZ has reported.
"They think if the British public aren't contributing financially then they don't have the same right to comment on their private life," an unnamed source told TMZ.
Of course, the couple has made it clear that their family's privacy is a priority since Archie was born, long before announcing their intentions to formally "step down." In May of 2019, Prince Harry "accepted damages and an apology" from Splash News, according to E!, after the outlet took aerial photos of his and Markle's country home in Cotswold Hills, England, on the grounds that the published photos "seriously undermined" the family's "safety and security." (Even after settling the matter with Splash, they moved from the estate.)
Who could blame the pair for being ultra cautious? Prince Harry, let's not forget, essentially lost his mother because of the paparazzi and their relentless hounding. One can only imagine the fear he must feel watching the same media target his now-wife and the mother of his only child. As for Meghan, let it never be said that she "knew what she was getting into," as no one could ever truly comprehend in advance the surreal experience of becoming royalty. As the couple traveled through Africa last year, Markle made a heartbreaking admission. “I never thought that this would be easy, ” she said, as the Los Angeles Times reported. “But I thought it would be fair.”
Tabloids accusing you of coming between your husband and his brother? Not fair. Or fabricating rumors of a rift between you and your sister-in-law? Definitely not fair. Or publishing a private letter you wrote to your estranged father? Not fair at all.
It's no wonder that since relocating to Canada following Buckingham Palace's announcement that a deal had been brokered to remove the couple from their royal duties, Prince Harry and Markle have actively sought a more private life. On Tuesday, lawyers representing the couple sent multiple British media outlets cease-and-desist letters after photos of Markle walking with Archie and her dogs were published, according to NBC News. The Sussex's lawyers claimed the photographer had hid in the bushes to nab the shots. Other paparazzi have "permanently camped outside" their home and are using long-range lenses to try and photograph them inside the house, NBC News reported the lawyers claimed.
While Prince Harry and Markle may have stepped away from the royal family in an effort to build a more private life for their son, it remains unclear if the media's interest in them will ever die down.